US team finds human remains near WWII crash site in Arunachal

“The United States is committed to making sure all the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who served our country come home. DPAA’s mission in India is a vital part of that commitment,” said Richard Verma.

Written by Samudra Gupta Kashyap | Guwahati | Updated: December 21, 2016 2:40:25 am
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An American team has found human remains believed to be those of the crew of a US aircraft that had crashed in Arunachal Pradesh during the Second World War (1939-1945). In a statement on Tuesday, Delhi’s American Centre said that the US Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) team found the remains in a dense forest in Lower Dibang Valley district.

DPAA is responsible for finding prisoners of war and missing in action military personnel.

The team visited several locations believed to be sites of plane crashes a year after it was given the go ahead to look for remains of around 400 Americans unaccounted for since the war. Most of them went missing after transport planes disappeared while entering Myanmar from the Allied Forces bases in upper Assam.

“While discussing the sites with local residents, the team received a presentation of human remains and osseous material, which a witness recovered near the wreckage of a crashed aircraft. After arriving at the site, the team found additional human remains believed to be associated with missing US service members,’’ the statement said. It added that the remains will be sent for identification following Delhi’s approval.

The team visited the locations to determine if the reported sites can be correlated to known crash sites involving missing US servicemen. It concentrated on a site near Bhismaknagar, which is known for archaeological sites and collected the remains.

The DPAA team has found a piece of an US aircraft deployed in the Assam-Burma region during the war as well. Recovery of debris of aircraft used during the war along with items like bombs continues to be reported from Arunachal and Assam.

The statement said that the team trekked to sites ranging from 2,500 feet to 10,000 feet high over trails that took anywhere from a few hours to several days to reach from motorable roads. It added that the team would return to the sites for excavations to recover the remains.

The DPAA’s investigations had started in 2004 before they were suspended five years later. They resumed after the issue featured in PM Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama’s joint statement in Delhi in January 2015.

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